Source: goodmenproject.com -  by 

Some friendships we let go of, some let go of us.

I had a discouraging realization recently.
Many of my friendships aren’t going to last forever. I don’t know why or when I started believing they should, but on closer inspection, this is something I have felt for some time now.
This realization felt like I had just noticed an ancient tree I pass every day; its deep roots betraying my own surprise at its arrival in my awareness.
Mind you, not all friendships carry this expectation for me. Not the casual acquaintances or the location-based relationships that always just puttered along. I speak of the friendships I choose to actively engage in, to pursue.
As time has passed my belief in permanent friendship has cemented itself into a dangerous precipice on which I find myself standing more often than I’d like. It is neither possible for all friendships to last forever, nor is it healthy to believe they should. But my belief has become absolutely intractable, gradually and subtly calcifying my heart.
And I’m not sure what to do about it.
It is no secret as we get older, we lose as much as we gain. The conversations we have with our friends frequently revolve around the physical losses; a decreased flexibility or the inability to quickly bounce back from a night of drinking.
All of it is some sort of loss of ability. “I can no longer do X.”
While those losses can come as a surprise they quickly transition into a light hum of frustration, loud enough to be annoying, but soft enough so it becomes part of our daily noise pollution.
It is not these physical changes affecting me daily. Losing abilities is to be expected. Losing people almost always catches me off guard. I once read “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” The older I get, the fewer opportunities there seem to be to plant enough seeds.

Yes, we are exposed to new circles of people when we join a new club, company, or community. But the leaving behind of those jobs, clubs or communities can mean those circles disappear much quicker than they were created. We lose friends at a rate faster than we can replace them.
Maybe this is natural. As we get older our world tends to narrow. We pair off and move from cities to suburbs, separate apartments to shared homes, transitioning away from dense centers of population while literally expanding the footprint of space which only we ourselves inhabit.
We go from knowing everything about our friends’ lives to getting regular updates, to conversations that start with “Did I tell you what happened last spring?”
It never ceases to amaze me how varied people’s relationships are. Some people find their life partner, pair off and essentially retreat to their own bunker, rarely to be seen again. Some partners become intertwined with other couples, having and raising children, socializing, and vacationing all together.
Whether the former, the latter or some hybrid in between, it has been my experience as time has passed, no matter how much I have cared for someone or how hard I’ve tried, it is increasingly difficult to hold on to them.
It’s a debilitating feeling.
My immediate concern is usually that I have done something wrong, said, or not said something, causing a rift. But as somebody who tries to be a semi-decent human being with no major drama in his life, the logic does not suggest every friend I have lost has been the result of my misdoing.

If it had, it would almost be easier to accept. If I knew there was something functionally wrong with me and how I behave, the way I emotionally neglect or abuse people, I would at least have an answer. But I have no evidence to that end.
The harder pill to swallow is this: Many friendships, perhaps most, just do not last. Due to time and circumstance friends simply drift, subject to the changing currents of life. We pay more attention to these currents when they separate us than when they unite us.
Which is to say so many relationships are the result of circumstance, to begin with, and those circumstances change as abruptly to cause endings as they do beginnings. But our minds rarely dwell on how good things are going or how positive our luck is. We simply wonder about the things we lose and can no longer have.
I wonder if others have been able to do a better job at maintaining friends than I.
The zen, who I do not know but have read about, say “The tighter you squeeze the less you have.” Which is to say I’m giving myself a kind of emotional arthritis. Perhaps it is my unrealistic expectations that need to change.
These expectations leave me questioning appropriate efforts. Am I trying hard enough? If I am, then why aren’t they? How long should I continue to reach out before giving up completely?
I feel hyper-aware of relationship dynamics at all times. It has not proven to be helpful. I imagine most people feel sadness at the loss of a friend. I can’t imagine they obsess over it.

The gradual deterioration of friendships is very much a part of life, whereas the lens through which I look has positioned it as something unnatural and preventable. Which brings us back to the fact that no friendship is guaranteed forever. They don’t have to be. Nor should they be. The length of a friendship is also no indicator of the quality of it.
It is clear the casual evaporation of ties between myself and others in my life would be better viewed as a function of time itself.
There is nothing stopping me from reaching out to those I have lost touch with, which I often do, but there is also nothing saying I need to be so confused or hurt when I no longer hear from them.
Different does not have to be inherently bad or good, it can simply just be.
This, however, does not always jive with some internal need I have to classify things. Is this thing living or dead? Worth my time or not? In so many areas of life, I love things that are neither black or white but grey. With friendships, the grey maddens me.
It is also selfish to think a friendship should continue to exist merely because I alone want it to. A friendship does not exist to serve only one person, it is there because it serves both people, otherwise, it is not a friendship at all. It is simply a parasite and a host.
The dissolution of friendships, while significant to me, doesn’t seem as significant for others. Some people simply see it as something that just happens. They don’t evaluate, worry, or try to contextualize.

Our encounters with others are extremely relative. There is no international standard for connection with another human being. It is not feasible for all to have the exact same expectations of friendship. We seek different feelings and are fulfilled by different experiences.
Sometimes, people just stop responding. For me, that is always what hurts the most.
When I was younger this hurt less. A friend would move or I’d lose their address or phone number. There was no way to find them, to look them up, or to contact them. And so even if they purposely avoided staying in touch, it became more of a mystery of the universe than something that felt deliberate. I could wonder if we would ever meet again and what that might be like.
Missed contact no longer means a letter that got lost in the mail. It doesn’t mean an answering machine never checked. Every communique is a tiny number 1 highlighted in red on a digital device in the pocket of your intended recipient.
Today you can call, text, email, and message somebody on social media all to no avail. The actions we take or don’t take have immediately apparent consequences. Silence used to mean many different things. Now it just means “no.”
That kind of deliberate silence is unambiguous.
It is easiest to be upset about lost friendships when one is not creating new ones. And creating new friendships does not get easier as we get older.
My senior year of college, my roommate and I came home from a social event in his used beige Cadillac. We were discussing the people we had been with that night as we pulled into our driveway and he said something to the effect of “We’re not looking to expand our friend circle.”

He spoke of us as some sort of private membership club whose roster was full. I didn’t say anything at the time. I was so baffled at how different our opinions were it incapacitated my speech. All I knew was I strongly disagreed.
While I have never really considered myself to be part of a “friend circle” I have always wanted to make new friends. Even if I’m not actively pursuing it… the interest remains.
At this moment, matching my actions to my interests feels like a better use of my energy than pining for lost connections.
I cannot control the inevitable disappearance of friendships, but I can always be curating, creating, and nurturing new ones in addition to the ones I have.
It is not hedging my bets, though I could understand how it would appear as such. If friendship is what I’m interested in, both the giving and receiving of it, then I must be actively involved in the creation of it,merely commenting upon its existence or disappearance.
The well of friendship is infinite. It does no good to spend my life peering over the edge, clutching my half-empty bucket.
Is your blog unique from everyone else's? Do you offer value to people? Do you update it regularly? Is your SEO up to snuff? Do you have a "subscriber list”? here's your answer to whoever asked me all these questions, GO FUCK A GOAT MATE! 

So, back to motorcycles and mountains.


I had to shake myself hard to come to qualms with someone who was "very urgently" building concrete structures deep in the trans-Himalayas. As someone so much closer to the connection, he was more disconnected than a bloody city dweller.


To think about it, there used to be a time when our farmers were our doctors, and our food was our health insurance. Farmers never grow food, they only take care of the land. They are the people of the land. cranking it to 2017, Our Doctors care-less, our farmers are no longer bothered about the well being of the community, Our food has become a product, we have medicalised health care, Everyone is flinging shit at each other on social media, borders are more closed than ever and all we do is pick on our differences. 

keep this in mind when you travel if you’re reading this. Engage in conversations and keep travel the way its supposed to be. Because Travel is incorruptible. I hope you look at it the same way too.





So, we went to the Himalayas in Nepal again, obviously on Motorcycles. It was 3 of us, and then later 2 of us. And, if there anything to be learned, as it always happens, We had the most incredible good fortune tempered with some bad luck. I toppled the bike 40 ft in a mountain slope in Ranikhet, Clutch cables snapped, we had fights, chains had to be adjusted, we fixed oil leaks with beeswax and I dropped the pig a few times. Met travellers (Anja & Holger on the BMW Dakars and Martin & Xena on XT tenere's), shared stories and invited them over when they get down south.







I think the Air cooled, Carburetored, steel framed, 'lightweight' and easy to self-service/repair adventure bike is a dying breed. Yes, I am talking about the Pig & Seabiscuit. Lets say, someone wants to do a 5 year RTW and doesn't want to ride a bike that they don't have to plug in every few months to keep running or needs a NASA qualified technician to diagnose; or spend ridiculous amounts of cash on parts, then it's these bikes they will be looking to.


Being a motorcycle traveler used to be about using your creativity to take a basket case old hag and using only grit and ingenuity, turning it into a "one of a kind eye dazzler", then risking your life on the asphalt on a bike you made yourself out of pride. Pretty much what I’d like to be, and I can proudly say I am 25% there. But so is my Ego, like my friend once mentioned.

PS: Anyone who thinks a "modern", lean-running, gravelly, snatchy fuel-injected throttle system is nicer to use than a 20 year-old bank of CV carbs is deluded.





I know the pig's limits now. I know where i’ll take her next. And finally, after stoppages and break-downs every single time, the Bond has been made. White pig and I seem to have it going now. She has a thing for me. She even adorns a “new” TN plate now. I have a feeling that all my bikes make the bond in the Himalayas, like as though they are alive and they know that they are up there. I’d like to believe that they are alive and they know.

After every switch of going and coming back, I seem to know what I want. I’m clearer than ever before about that. I’m not interested in shiny cars, or a big house or a well-manicured lawn, In fact, I am against lawns. If you have a lawn at home, you’re an asshole. I want a small home with a garage for my bikes, a tiny workbench with a drill press and a vise, a small income to pay for a round in the pub with my wife, food with family & cats, and a bit to save for a future adventure, as I’d like to see it. All very achievable, nothing unrealistic. And then, there is Pakistan. Very obviously I will go there someday.


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Just remember that its your life. Do what you love and do it very often. If you don’t like something, change it. If your job really sucks, fucking quit. If you think you don’t have enough time, stop spending time on your stupid smartphone or Facebook or Instagram. Because social media popularity can sometimes give you an inflated view of your own abilities. The universe works in uncanny ways, and stop being curious for the sake of it. Stop over analysing, because, life is simple. Make everything count, mostly small things. when you eat, eat till satiety and appreciate every morsel. just like women, all emotions too, are beautiful. Ask the next stranger you meet what his passion is. Don’t try to inspire people, because sometimes its not worth it, But share your dreams with them, for all you know you’ll never meet them again or else, it can be an extraordinary meeting, who knows. I firmly believe that life is about people you meet and then things that we create with them. So, get the fuck out. Get out, start creating. and last but not the least travel often.



I don’t know what has become of me.  I should maybe stop writing this blog because soon it's going to be 2019. We live in an era of instant everything, and I feel that I don't fit "here" anymore. No one reads blogs anyway. Plus, I have the advantage of being extremely unpopular in real life. So, I do not need a virtual popularity fix for my ego. Maybe I should make memes. hahaha.., A very random blog post indeed.





Merry Christmas and Happy new year folks! May the next year always have the shiny side up as its meant to be.
Make sure to Ride a lot of dirt in 2018.





 Do you play ? How do you play ? These are essential questions you should ask yourselves.  Depending on who you are, what you do, and where you live, there is a good chance that you have completely eliminated "Play".  If you are a consuming city dweller like myself, there is a very high probability of "No Play".


Let's dive a little deep into this free play thing. Thinking about it, its one of the first activities to disappear in the life of a man once he reaches adulthood. Certainly, the element of free play, if not already set aside when one reaches adulthood, is absent in daily life. Yet the 'play' is an essential ingredient in the embodiment and promotion of creativity. Which is what motorcycles, climbing, and many other things mean to me. It's my 'play'.  It extremely personal and it's all mine. In fact, this was one of the strongest pushes for me, psychologically to quit working full time. It was a hard choice but how can I deliberately cease to think about forms of unique expressions of myself? it's selfish in a way. But it's also unfamiliar, strange and yet marvelous. Selcouth.



Isn't it true that we don't give importance to our own play anymore? Does someone else need to invite you to recapture these experiences? Is working a full-time job with no time to spend on yourself "the core" of who you are. Who are you?

your dreams.. and living it, is free play.  adventure, well is free play.

Your wild things & places are very important, don't forego them. Being at play is all I ask. Nothing more, certainly nothing less. The resignation of human concerns, feeling free to express yourself, withdrawal from all the worldly problems, being present and in the moment happen once you choose your poison. So choose wickedly. Make sure it has wheels.













I just felt like writing about this. I have written about this before, but nothing wrong with another iteration.

I am married now. My reality has changed. My perception about travel has evolved. I won't say I have become the new "ME", but certainly, I have changed a lot.

This was my first motorcycle after a long time. I did not own motorcycles for a few years when I was shuttling cities and jobs from 2006 - 2011. However, shifting was not the only reason. I was scared. I did stupid things on motorcycles. I crashed. I herniated my spine, L1-s5 as the doctors used to call it. Hospitalized for months, and my folks thought it had to end. My parents sold my Motorcycles when I was in the hospital.



Well, which is why I am writing this post. Motorcycles are inherently dangerous and unforgiving. Maybe not? Motorcycling is not, of itself, inherently dangerous. It is, however, extremely unforgiving of inattention, ignorance, incompetence, or stupidity.

When I met Hubert Kreigal,  he said: "Don't forget to take a risk today and Don't be stupid". The message kind of resonates in my thoughts every time I turn the ignition switch on. Fear is good. It's also good to know one's limit.

Meh, That didn't stop me from crashing the Ninja into a ditch. I was on crutches for a month. soft tissue damage, dislocation, what not. So, let's get right to the point. Motorcycles crashes can be morbid. People die. Shit happens. But, Don't be sad.

Because, there is absolutely no reason to be sad here. Here's a message to all the Mom's, Dad's, Sisters, Wife's, brothers, and sons of Motorcycle people. Yes, I am speaking for all of us here. Please remember that we took life and death chances every time we went out and started that motorcycle...this is our choice. We know the risks obviously, and we are all (relatively) sane (surprising huh?), and We might die...like many before us and many that will come.

In fact, us Motorcycle people, should be happy and celebrate every lost life, and the fact that we lived as long as we did.

Thinking about it, Motorcycles don't kill people. Life kills everyone. Think of all the people that die in dismal, white-painted, antiseptic-smelling, hospitals attached to machines after years of suffering. Think of all the truly awful ways to die. From that preview, If I died riding, I died in the best way.

So, Rest in Peace, Whoever you are ~ You set a great example and advanced the human race. because that's what we motorcycle people do.  


Remember, A bike on the road is worth two in the shed. Tell your cage friends to watch out for Motorcycles. Nothing more, nothing less, whoever you are, keep shiny side up and the rubber side down

And here are some beautiful Himalaya's pictures and people who live there. 






So to celebrate hitting the 10,000km mark on the roads and dirt tracks of India, Nepal and Bhutan on Morgan, I’ve decided to don my flack jacket, raise my head above the parapet and throw my hat into this well-trodden ring of motorcycle travel. 




Motorcycle travel can mean many things to many people, which can muddy the waters of the discussion with fancy words like "Adventure".So we are not going to do that talk now. However, we will stick to the concept of overland travel on a motorcycle, and I seem to have come to an interesting conclusion if you may.  About Travel and Travellers. Based on people I met on my travels, Local and foreign, based on interactions, and the time we spent together and spoke those few words or sentences. Sometimes, we did not comprehend each other, and a lot of times, its been an interesting conversation with follow-up. So, keep this in mind for later. If you are reading this. This article probably needs a follow-up as well, from someone else who's reality is very different from mine. 
            


So,  Air Canada has this cool program. To make it easier for Canadians to fly to Europe (and other continents) with their motorcycles. They call it "Fly Your Bike". Costs typically run about $1,000 CDN ($750 US) for return transport. James cargo offers to ship of any motorcycle from the UK to anywhere in the planet and the service is offered with a smile ! I am Sea-lander, inhabiting a coastal plain of the state of Tamil Nadu, along the eastern coast of the Indian Peninsula. I was curious to know if there an equivalent from Air India or an Indian "James Cargo". Lets be honest. It does'nt exist. But, the curious person in me connected the dots. I wondered why most folk we (me and my wife ) met in our recent travels, mostly foreign kept asking us why don't Indian's travel the world like westerns do? A few times, I sat back and engaged, and when the conversation got going, I realised that we had a lot less common than what people tend to portray. So what's portrayed? cliched stuff. Because the reality is far from cliche. Like the "Budgetary Case for Slow Travel" ..you travel slow, it's not that deep in the pocket. Like "Camp and not stay in expensive hotels when in Europe if you are a budget traveler". But As an Indian with a blue passport with fancy gold lion embossing, You see I cannot get a Schengen visa approved If I camp or tell them the truth about my Motorcycle. The Schengen agreement says that everything has to be "pre-booked" always with a return ticket and a fuckoff note. like Because, we are not equal by any means, because we do not share the same privileges, because we have different motherlands with imaginary borders but real passports. Passports are as real as it gets folks. Don't think its true? you'd be surprised that we have made this some sort of competition and have ranks like kids do. So, who wants to play mother hen amongst grown-ups ? All the freaking Countries !! Sexy and Shocking, but I am sure there are plenty of reasons to justify the passport ranks and why it is so and why it will remain to be so. 



Somehow things have percolated all wrong. like bad coffee. Because now I realize that the german guy on a BMW r1200GS and the swiss guys on the KTM690 with a fancy bezel rally kit don't know how privileged they were "right off the shelf" if you can call it that. Based on data from Passport ranking index, they are free to travel to up to 160 of 195 countries without a visa or get a visa when they "appear". I won't call it visa on arrival for a reason because it's truly, "visa when you appear" if you get the difference. It doesn't take a genius to realize that travel to "cheaper" third world countries sustains "Travel" more than to spend the same amount of money in Norway or Iceland, which would probably last you a week or 2 depending on how long you wanted to travel in the first place. 

Now is when it becomes some sort of a sick joke ! Because, all these people come to cheaper countries, meet the people, realize that People are generally friendly, helping, hospitable and more. Then they also tell you other things that you already know as a traveler - "the world is a safer place than we think" - "Don't believe Popular media, Iran is a fantastic place", etc, etc. and later ask them questions like they asked me and my wife - "why don't you people travel ?, I have never seen a motorcycle traveler from India in Germany, but plenty of germans here in Goa". So we have a full circle now, But do you get the sick joke? I am not even starting to crib about the carnet de passage and other paperwork yet. Guess what folks. People are awesome. Every goddamn where in this planet. You just have get off your ass, and wallah, you meet them. 















Well, I am back to writing after a while. and I’d like to start with a rant. I am a bit concerned and feel sad for the people that get sucked into all the "adventure" horse shit. To think about it, The adventures people could have if they just rode out there enjoyed themselves instead of buying all the crap from the big brands to keep up with the social media and Jones next door. I have a very strong opinion that these folks have tarnished a noble thing for the rest of us. ie. going for a ride on a bike. Now, these unscrupulous companies slam you with happy selfies from sponsored riders driving home to the punter. They must have the latest crash protection, wet weather gear, gps or the latest luggage set or even a bike!  What happened to just going for a ride guys ? I realised that I got sucked in, I wish I’d spent more money on gas than the "right” gear. 

It brings up a huge question. What is an adventure ? is going out there on a guided tour or a rented motorcycle an adventure? Are guided tours not “real” adventures? 

Well, it can be both. Because Adventure isn't a prescription.


I very strongly believe that Adventure is in the individual. It is as close to putting on your boots in the morning and heading out the door. In our case, motorcycles. And it's not about the prize, the trophy, the goal, the gold. Robert service in his poem "the spell of the yukon" put it perfectly: "Yet it ins't the gold that I'm wanting so much as just finding the gold". That's adventure. The finding of it.



So, Leaving from where we left last time, I have quite the story to tell. As funny as it may sound, the story is about the 20 year old motorcycle which me and my wife rode all the way from the eastern himalayas in bhutan to the fringes of Jammu and kashmir traversing some gigantic peaks in Nepal. Its a story of no questioning how the universe works in uncanny ways. It's a story of friends who met through OLX. 






the Motorcycle is a 1996 ‘Made in spain’ Transalp 600 (XL600v). I named the Transalp “Morgan Freeman”. Because, it was Old, Red and full of redemption. The name just stuck. We carried parts to makre sure Morgan gets some TLC. 

We stopped being silly, and got serious riding.And riding is what we did. From the Teesta, to the Sevoke to Torsa to Paro and ended up in Mangde where Phobjika valley lies. 



A landscape right out of fairy tale. Where 6 foot tall black necked cranes migrate in winters, it was utterly surreal.  We took the lesser travelled border gate into Nepal in Pashupathi Nagar, which is a diversion from Ghum, the last railway station where the Infamous Toy train journey ends. The terrain is quite magical changing from Alpine to Alpine shrubs. 
















Nepal - Kathmandu, the capitol was under siege, with no Petrol anywhere in sight for the first 2 days. After some local help, managed to fill Morgan copious amounts of petrol to take me to Pokhara. We rode to the forbidden kingdom of “Mustang” surrounded by 8000 meter peaks. The Annapurna conservation area is really something in the monsoon’s on a big motorcycle. We then tracked our way down to the beauty of the terai region and made it in time to the “Teej” festival. 














We rode from the ganjes, its tributaries and ended up at the chenab which met the sutlej in Spiti valley. 






 









Reflecting on the most incredible 2 months in the mountains, we crossed cold deserts, snow-capped peaks, forests and quaint villages. Safely traveled through them, and sometimes we were told not to go to places, visited others I'd not previously heard of. We were ecstatic, happy, sad, drunk, baked, drunk and baked, exhausted, moved, overwhelmed and mostly, fascinated. We made new friends for life, we fought, and sometimes were victims of hospitality and were given most from those with least to give.  We learned that a gesture is worth more than a thousand words, because, sometimes poor isn't necessarily unhappy. We learned to live with less and we shipped most of the things back midway. We become better travelers. I now trust people and our instinct. We saved cash, blew the budget, ran out of money, made false transactions and threw some illegal things at problems. We became compassionate human beings, mechanics, and with a technical ability only slightly better than a blind gibbon wearing boxing gloves, we became experts in many fields. We administered first aid by the road side and broke the sub-frame. We ate extraordinary food, Met western people who were learning to "cook mo-mo’s”. We ate with dirty hands, from plates, with clean hands, from leaves, plastic bowls and occasionally the huge pot. We slept in tents, in hotels, hostels, homestays, in cold deserts, on mountain tops, and in the wilderness. We saw stars, almost every day, and occasionally the milkyway. We had the most incredible good fortune tempered with bad some luck. We visited, museums, temples, churches, monasteries, and monasteries and monasteries ...The Himalayas is full of Monasteries. We communicated in sign language, learned a few words of tsonga, nepali, pahadi, and hindi. 
















In Hindsight, now that we are back home, I sometimes wonder. Did it ever go away? Is the chronic travel addiction that strong ? is it because there always a chance of not finding what is over the hill that you haven't seen before? a new feeling or experience that hasn't been absorbed, yet? 


My inference is a fair warning. Warning: Motorcycle travel is highly addictive and there is NO known cure.